‘It’s a joke’: Gareth Southgate responds to Harry Maguire being booed by England fans

Gareth Southgate has hit out at fans who booed Harry Maguire ahead of England’s meeting with Ivory Coast.

England took on Ivory Coast in a friendly outing on Tuesday evening. The match was a fairly easy one for the Three Lions to navigate, especially when Serge Aurier was sent off after 39 minutes.

England would take the lead at Wembley shortly after the half-hour mark when Ollie Watkins slotted the ball into an open net. Goals from Raheem Sterling and Tyrone Mings then ensured England picked up a comfortable 3-0 win.

Southgate responds to Harry Maguire boos

One of England’s better players on the day was Harry Maguire. The centre-back has seriously struggled at club level this term, but continues to impress for his country.

Yet, despite it being an international game, Maguire was somewhat surprisingly booed ahead of kick-off on Tuesday.

A smattering of boos would have made sense as there was no doubt some Manchester United fans in the crowd, but the sheer volume of them suggested Maguire was being jeered by some non-United fans as well.

This rather odd response towards Maguire led to Southgate being less than impressed with the England fans responsible in his post-match interview:

"I thought the reception was a joke, an absolute joke”, Southgate said. “The way he has performed for us has been absolutely phenomenal. I don't get it. We're either all in this together or we're not.

"He's in an England shirt and not only should you support a player in an England shirt regardless, but when you've played at the level he has for us and put the performances in he has, it should be total commitment behind him. I don't get it at all.

"His performance was pretty faultless really. He stepped out from the back really well for his first goal, was involved in the second one too. The team are totally united. We recognise everyone has difficult moments but he's a top player and he will come through it.

"They are real England fans and some are influenced by whatever - social media or players that played previously who are influencing opinion. The club situation is obviously very difficult but he's in an England shirt. I remember decades ago a few players being booed in an England shirt and it's never been acceptable to me. Fans should always get behind their team."

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Josh Barker

Josh Barker

Middlesbrough fan from the North East of England. @JoshBarker979 on Twitter.

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